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“Leave No One Behind” – AEC Tells African Govts

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The 10th African Economic Conference ends with the strong message that African governments should leave no one behind in running their development agenda

LEAVE no one behind is one of the strongest message emanating from the 10th African Economic forum which ended in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday, November 4.

This idea means that African countries must endeavour to carry everybody along in their development agenda, especially in the implementation of the sustainable development goals, SDGs, whose objective is to eradicate poverty and inequalities globally. This will require taking bold steps by African governments including strengthening the role of state in economic transformation on the continent.

It also implies that African governments will have to accelerate the process of structural transformation and make it more equitable, inclusive, resilient and sustainable, integrating the green dimensions.

This lofty objective was emphasised during the closing ceremony of the three-day 10th African Economic Conference. "The state should play a critical role in the transformation of economies. It has to be visionary, provide leadership in planning and execution and intervene when markets fail," participants said in a joint statement issued at the end of the three-day conference held under the theme "Addressing Poverty and Inequality in the Post-2015 Development Agenda."

Addressing poverty and inequality, they argued, is central to achieving Agenda 2030 and the African Union's Agenda 2063.

Policymakers, donor organisations and international economic policy planners agreed that nurturing of strong and inclusive developmental states and transformational leadership were essential for planning, implementing and monitoring development programs.

They also emphasised the need for bold steps to diversify the economies away from primary commodities to avoid the challenges associated with natural resources overdependence.

In the Kinshasa Consensus, the economic experts have underscored using agriculture and the extractive sectors as the linchpin of economic transformation.

They argued that agriculture remains a major source of livelihoods for the majority of African poor and still remains the core of the employment and income generation for most of the African economies.

"It is therefore imperative to pursue an agriculture-led industrial development as it provides much needed capital," the Kinshasa Consensus reads in part.

However, as countries transform they need to put in place measures to adequately manage the transition and especially counter the resulting special inequalities that are likely to occur.

In particular, governments need to prioritize bridging the current huge infrastructure deficits, especially electricity, as well as reduce African economies' vulnerability to external shocks and domestic conflicts.

This, coupled with deepening decentralization and initiatives aimed at empowering sub-national jurisdictions to deliver basic social services to their communities, may be useful in addressing spatial inequalities.

Effective mobilisation and efficient utilisation of domestic resources were also underscored, as Africa should be able to use development aid to scale up domestic resources mobilization.

The annual conference is organized by the African Development Bank, AfDB, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, and the UN Economic Commission of Africa, ECA.

— Nov 16, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT

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